L. Neil Smith’s THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 918, April 16, 2017
The Heartmost Desire: A Review
by Sean Gangol
Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
In The Heartmost Desire by J. Neil Schulman we are treated in the first half of the book with essays written in the same sarcastic, blunt and witty language that I have come to expect from J. Neil Schulman. His essays cover a wide range of issues which include love, sex, food, smoking and whether one should choose to fellow his dreams. There was also an essay where he makes the case that prostitution in some ways is as virtuous as nursing. I am not sure whether I totally agree with it, but he does make a pretty good case. I also found his essay about the problems that he had pioneering paperless books before the internet became widespread to be quite fascinating. I didn’t realize that paperless books were even a thing back then.
The essay that I related to the most was the chapter titled, “Man and Superman”, where he discovered Superman through the George Reeves series of the 1950’s, which led to his love of Superman comic books and later to the comics of the great Stan Lee. This is similar to my own experiences, though my first exposure of Superman came from the Christopher Reeve movies of the seventies and eighties. I remember later at the age of seven going by a comic book store that had Superman decals in the window and asking my mom if we could go in there sometime. That was when I developed a love affair with comic books that I still have to this very day.
Though I will have to say that it is the second half of the book that is the most intriguing. I know that there are many who will understandably have trouble with the subject matter. This is a subject that you will definitely have to approach with an open mind. When it comes to the idea of God, J. Neil Schulman has never been overly religious. While he came from a Jewish family, his home life for the most part was relatively secular. Schulman actually became an atheist at the age of five before going through an agnostic stage before he had his own personal experiences with God. This is an aspect that I can somewhat relate to since I have gone through different stages when it comes to theistic beliefs. I was raised in a household that was Christian, but not necessarily religious and I would go through stages where I called myself a Universalist, a Deist, an agnostic and even had a brief period where I flirted with atheism. Though I do have to say that I have never had a personal encounter with God as J. Neil Schulman has discussed in this book.
When I first heard about Schulman’s claim of meeting God, I thought that he meant it in the same way that a born-again Christian says he found Jesus. Instead he meant that he literally met God. His first encounter happened when he thought he was having a heart attack. Schulman claims that was when he heard God telling him that his life was in his hands. His second experience was what Schulman called a mind meld with God. I have to be honest when I say that I am not sure what to make of his personal experiences. I know that there are many who will call Shulman a quack and that his personal experiences amount to nothing more than a series of nervous breakdowns. The more religious minded of the readers will probably consider Schulman’s experiences heretical. Now, I personally don’t have a dog in this fight. My beliefs range somewhere between Deism and agnosticism. I am far from religious, but I don’t really consider myself an atheist. At the end of the day I don’t really care about one’s beliefs as long as they aren’t shoved down my throat. I also can’t dismiss Schulman’s experiences outright. Even diehard skeptics will tell you that you can’t prove or disprove a personal experience. Though, if Schulman’s experiences were indeed real, then there are two aspects that I find comforting. One of them being that just about all the major religions for the most part have gotten it wrong, which was something that I always figured to be true. I find it even more comforting that God is a libertarian.
For those of you who are fans of Escape from Heaven, Schulman mentions how he came up with the story. He also gives us original concepts for the book, which were far different from the final product. Schulman could actually make an entirely different book from the concepts that he abandoned. It is also worth mentioning that this book is also available in two separate volumes, which include Unchaining the Human Heart: A Revolutionary Manifesto and I Met God.
The Heartmost Desire
by J. Neil Schulman
Foreword by Brad Linaweaver
Click cover to buy at Amazon.com
Unchaining the Human Heart: A Revolutionary Manifesto
by J. Neil Schulman
Click cover to buy at Amazon.com
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